April 28, 2006
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - A prime opportunity for the Santa Clara University baseball team to gain some ground in the West Coast Conference playoff chase slipped away Friday night as the Broncos left 10 runners on base and fell 6-4 to the Saint Mary's Gaels at Stephen Schott Stadium.
The Broncos (24-19, 5-8 WCC) and Gaels (24-16, 9-4 WCC) return to Schott Stadium Saturday afternoon for a 1 p.m. start as SCU attempts to even things up in this three-game series. Sunday's finale is also set for a 1 p.m. first pitch.
Daniel Nava hit a three-run homer, his third of the year, while Kevin Drever and Matt Long each had a pair of hits in five at-bats. Starter Justin Kuehn went five and a third innings and struck out six in getting a no-decision.
Things got off to a rough start for Santa Clara early on as the Gaels got four off of Kuehn in the first three innings. After getting one in the second, Saint Mary's used a one-out walk followed by a stolen base and RBI single to start a three-run rally in the third. A Preston Young sacrifice fly and Delaney Gallagher single each brought in a run to give the Gaels a quick 4-0 lead.
But the Broncos got three back in their half of the third, as Brady Fuerst reached on an error by shortstop Adam Hicks to start the inning. With one away, Long singled to set up Nava, who lashed out at the first offering from SMC starter Joel Fountain and drove it deep to right field to cut the deficit to one at 4-3.
SCU managed to chase Fountain two batters into the seventh, as Drever led off with a double and advanced to third on Long's second single of the night. After reliever Dan Lewis struck out the next two batters, Kris Watts reached on an error which allowed Drever to score the tying run.
Yet as quickly as the Broncos evened things, the Gaels took the lead for good in the eighth. Two singles and an intentional walk loaded the bases, and a single by Mike Harris, who went 3-for-4 with a pair of RBIs on the night, brought home the eventual winning run. That hit chased SCU reliever Daniel DeMarco, who saw his record for the year fall to 5-3. SMC tacked on an unearned run after a two-out Bronco error allowed the run to cross.
Lewis got his fifth win of the year to up his mark to 5-1 and finished things off by inducing a pop-up with two on from Watts, who represented the winning run.